CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced a lawsuit against American Blue Ribbons Holding LLC, doing business as Legendary Baking, for allegations of violating federal disability discrimination laws.
The EEOC alleges Patricia Hall, a long-term employee at Legendary Baking’s Oak Forest, Illinois, baking facility, developed CSP myelopathy from an injury outside of work. Hall was forced to take a leave of absence due to the condition. She allegedly sought to return to work in a temporary light-duty capacity, but the company illegally reserved that right to employees injured on the job, the EEOC said.
Hall had to remain on leave and was purportedly fired after 180 days, pursuant to Legendary Baking’s leave policy. When she received medical clearance the next month, she sought to be rehired but was allegedly turned down.
“Employers need to understand that that they are required to make their light-duty programs available to employees with disabilities who are recuperating from restrictions, even if they are unrelated to an on-the-job injury," said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for EEOC's Chicago District Office. "If Legendary Baking had complied with this requirement, Ms. Hall might still be working there productively today.”
Hendrickson said the company could have given accommodations to Hall fairly easily. According to Hendrickson, there was no justification for the company’s failure to rehire Hall once she received clearance to return to full work duty.